We are touching on a loaded topic – the tongue and speech. We are so guilty of how we use our tongues. See what Proverbs 4:24 says:
Put away perversity from your mouth,
keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (NIV)
When I first read this, I understood the message. But when I began to dissect it, I realized that I maybe didn’t fully understand it. What does perverse mean? The Message says that you should not talk out of “both sides of your mouth.” The Amplified uses false and dishonest as descriptions. The dictionary defines it as determined (stubborn) to do wrong. After looking at these other definitions, are you more guilty of “perversity”? Christians sitting in those pews are guilty of it. You can hear them talking out of both sides and being dishonest. And in many cases it is on purpose. We are told to rid ourselves of corrupt talk from our lips. That could include: gossiping, criticism, foul language, words that cause disputes, non-uplifting words. Wow! I’ve probably not even scraped the tip of the iceberg. Remember that you are to be a representative of Christ and others should see Him in you. When you use a four letter word, could I see Christ in that? When you say something that hurts another, could I see Christ in that? When you start an argument, could I see Christ in that? When you demean another, could I see Christ in that? Could anyone see Christ in your day to day speech. OUCH!! That just about hit everyone, including myself. We do not guard our tongues. We let them loose and do not restrain them. Is that right? Are we supposed to be so flippant about what comes out of our mouths? According to scripture, NO!!!! We are commanded to put such things away from us and be a light to others.
Are you guilty of bad language? If yes, what can you do to change that? First, pray for God’s help. Next, be more cognizant of what you say throughout the day. Most Christians use bad language because they are in the habit of it or so used to it that they don’t even realize it. You could place a jar in a prominent part of the house and each time you let one slip, put a penny or something similar in it. At the end of each day, look at how much you slipped. You might really be surprised. But as with everything else, you need to be intentional. You cannot grow or change bad habits unless you are intent about your goal and the pathway there. It might not be a bad idea to get an accountability partner to help you get a handle on this. Make sure you also approach this with humility and submission to God or this journey to controlling the tongue is going to be difficult or just plain impossible.
Are you guilty of gossip? If yes, then let’s get that changed. You need to realize what gossip is. You would be amazed at how many gray areas there are and how much we take advantage of those. Gossip can be defined as a rumor which is a repeat of information that the truth and basis is unknown. It can also be the retelling of personal information. If that information is no one else’s business, you can pretty much guess that it is gossip. If you are putting forth a prayer request, think before you speak and make sure that you don’t put out too much information. If that might happen, make it an unspoken. God knows about it already. Most people who are notorious gossips, proclaim very loudly that they don’t gossip: they just are telling you a fact. Some “facts” should be kept quiet.
Are you guilty of excessive criticism? That can be changed. The more time you spend in the Word, the more you’ll become aware of your speech patterns. In the beginning don’t expect to catch yourself before you speak. Old habits are hard to break. But the beginning action that you want to develop is to recognize criticism for what is quicker after you’ve spoken. Realize it and apologize. Think of what caused you to say it. What triggered your response? Watch for those triggers in the future and you’ll begin to catch yourself before you open mouth and insert foot.
We are called to have purity come from our lips. What will you do today to pour forth purity and be a light to others?